Are BAA's plans in terminal decline?

Posted by bex — 14 March 2008 at 4:30pm - Comments

Goddard cartoon

Image reproduced with kind permission of Private Eye Magazine and Clive Goddard.

Luckily for BAA, the Queen doesn't seem to have taken offence at apparently being banned from Heathrow in the run up to climate camp last year. This morning, she tootled off to Hounslow to officially open Heathrow's new Terminal 5 (although the public opening won't happen 'til the 27th).

Beleaguered BAA must have been hoping for a good news day. The company's been under fire of late from local residents, Mayoral candidates and a whole raft of campaigning groups, as well as their own customers, for everything from bad science and collusion with government to shoddy planning and delays.

Last weekend, it turned out that even the government's own environment advisors think a third runway at Heathrow could potentially increase "morbidity and mortality over a dense local population", and that there were "substantive uncertainties" over whether an expanded Heathrow could meet EU pollution limits.

The Sunday Times also reported that BAA executives "prevented the use of data in the consultation document which showed that the expansion would cause unlawful levels of pollution and extra noise. Instead, they gave civil servants amended data that showed the anticipated 230,000 extra flights a year at Heathrow would have a minimal impact on noise and pollution levels."

The revelations about the depths of BAA/government collusion in writing the Heathrow consultation show an incredible arrogance from both parties. Both seem to assume that what's good for BAA is good for UK plc (against the evidence, as it turns out) - never mind Britain's emissions reduction targets, climate change, the political process or public opinion.

But the opening of T5 hasn't given BAA the good news day it was hoping for, with a fair chunk of the media choosing to grill the company on climate change.

After the aviation industry was rapped on the knuckles by the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming that the third runway will reduce "aircraft emissions by 330,000 tonnes a year", BAA had to resort to telling the Today programme that Terminal 5 has "been built in a very very environmentally friendly way". (Phew - let's just not mention the fact that Runway 3 will generate extra emissions equal to those of Kenya...)

With BAA on the defensive and the government wobbling over the decision, it's starting to look like we really can win this battle for the climate. And there are plenty of exciting plans afoot to help us get there. For now, just put May 31st in your diaries - details coming soon.

Our illustrious government are just proving what hypocrites they are once again...
...By ALLOWING airport expansion.
We've just had a Budget where fuel prices were raised, quoting the environment as the reason!!!!!
W@*£*&$!
How come we're not using Hydrogen yet, as a fuel for everything?!? Blimey! How long does it take!?

How can they even think of allowing this? If they build the third runway, in order to make our carbon reduction targets, we won't be able to emit any CO2 anywhere else in the country.

And this is all for the sake of a few lazy sods who will quite happily fly from London to Manchester, instead of taking the train like a normal human being. It just doesn't seem right.

Come freeze at heathrow and help us send a message http://www.wooshare.com/HeathrowFreeze

Myth: Hydrogen is a fuel.

Hydrogen is merely a way of storing energy in chemical form, it does have huge potential though. The difficulties lie in storing it, gaseouse hydrogen molecules are so minute they escape through steel so long term storage is difficult. Also it has a very very low boiling point similar to helium this introduces more cost. It is the development of these storage technologies which is slowing progress.
Despite this Hydrogen fuel cells are only "green" if the energy used to produce the hydrogen from salty water comes from renewables, biochemists are working on ways to mimic how plants split water using the suns energy though which would be more efficient than first producing electricity then Hydrogen.

Even then using hydrogen in planes would be disasterous for the planet, dumping that volume of water vapour in the atmosphere would cause a major greenhouse effect speeding up climate change even more.

Kind of a no brainer this, Cut Flights Cut GHG's.
JetG. rescue diver extraordinaire.

Heathrow does not need expanded. with the 2 runways it has just now a plane takes off and lands roughly every 40 seconds as it is. That is a lot of CO2. Also assuming every plane carries 200 people then in 1 hour 90 planes would take off. That is 18,000 people in 1 hour. Assuming with 1 runway the time doubles then that is 45 planes in 1 hour(9,000 people). With a 3rd runway that would be 1/3 wouldn't it? So therefore a plane could take off every 26.67 seconds. In other words 135 planes(rounded up) or 26,997 people(rounded up).

But that is just with take off. If an equal number of planes land then just now about 9000 people take off in an hour and 9000 people land. With a 3rd runway 13,498 people would take off and 13,498 people would land. So in a day with a 3rd runway 640 planes would take off and land(or 128,000 people would go through Heathrow).

That is just with a full 200 seater plane. You get much bigger planes.

Tis a pretty big carbon footprint

You neglect to mention that there are much smaller aeroplanes and you also seem to have forgotten the freight aeroplanes that take off and land.
You have shown that you can prove anything with numbers and statistics though.

yes that is true. But I think it is fair to say that most planes will be over 200 seats. As Heathrow is an international airport and they tend to use big planes when flying out width the country. I don't live in London so I don't see the airport. But I would imagine that the majority of the planes would be planes like a Boeing 747. Which has more than 200 seats.

You should check out a few of the airline websites, I suspect that you will be suprised about how many much smaller aircraft are used, Airbus A319, 130 seats and A320, 160 seats. BA make about 47 flights a day just to 5 destinations using these aircraft.
What would be interesting to know is how many passengers are actually on the flights.

Already there are billions of pounds collected in Air Passenger Duty taxes and it will be doubled since November. It seems there are a lot of money collected from civil aviation industry towards the environment. Do we really need more green taxes, e.g. air fuel tax? The problem is how effective the funds are spent. Can anybody tell me what are the most effective ways to reduce CO2, e.g. offsetting CO2, stop flying, use biofuels, research into new technologies and in what percentages? Another point is I don't think joining EU Trading Scheme will be effective unless it is a worldwide. May be some money should go towards setting the worldwide Trading Scheme and make sure countries such as China and USA are the members?

You're right on the EU ETS - aviation's inclusion will do pretty much nothing to reduce the sector's emissions. Even in the toughest ETS scenario envisaged, by 2020 emissions would grow by 83% instead of 86% in a business-as-usual situation (pdf)- the industry will just be able to keep growing and keep polluting by trading permits with other industries.

Voluntary offsetting isn't much use either (actually, there's a risk that the fashion for offsetting could actually encourage people to take unnecessary journeys). Often, it's just an accounting trick; once you've put a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere there's not much that offsetting can do to stop it changing our climate.

And using biofuels brings in all sorts of other problems.

The most effective way to cap emissions from flying is to cap the number of flights: ie stop expanding airports; ban domestic flights served by good train routes; cap long-haul flights (to ensure they don't just replace short-haul flights if the slots become free); and transferring the billions earmarked for aviation expansion to be ploughed into our railways.

Cheers,

Bex
gpuk

Thanx, Bex. I agree with you that government must encourage travelling by railway and instead of airport expansion put money into reliable and affordable railway links. But I still beleive that economics dictates what people will do, e.g. if air travel becomes too expensive people will stop travel and there will be no need for further expansions. Wouldn't it be a solution to increase green taxes on air travel to decrease number of flights?

Hi elena

Yep, I agree that green taxation is an important tool in encouraging people to change their behaviour but, in terms of aviation, the carbon savings that might be achieved by adding a few pounds to flight costs would be wiped out in no time by a third runway at Heathrow.

Also, we're very deliberately targeting government policy rather than individual behaviour - we need a clear policy to cap the unsustainable growth in aviation. And, as we're calling for a transfer of the billions of pounds subsidies into the railways, the end result will also be that the cost of aviation goes up and rail travel is improved, adding incentives for people to take the most sustainable choice.

Cheers,

Bex
gpuk

I agree with all what has been said here.

Isn't it odd to think that one piece of tar mack could cause so much damage... yet if we let it get built... It will.

We don't want a tax that costs the aviation industry a few pounds. To win the war against airports we need to cripple the industry. Don't put green tax as a few pounds. Make it a couple hundred.

Also bring back the Railway and the Canal. May be slower but it is greener.

Our illustrious government are just proving what hypocrites they are once again... ...By ALLOWING airport expansion. We've just had a Budget where fuel prices were raised, quoting the environment as the reason!!!!! W@*£*&$! How come we're not using Hydrogen yet, as a fuel for everything?!? Blimey! How long does it take!?

How can they even think of allowing this? If they build the third runway, in order to make our carbon reduction targets, we won't be able to emit any CO2 anywhere else in the country. And this is all for the sake of a few lazy sods who will quite happily fly from London to Manchester, instead of taking the train like a normal human being. It just doesn't seem right.

Come freeze at heathrow and help us send a message http://www.wooshare.com/HeathrowFreeze

Myth: Hydrogen is a fuel. Hydrogen is merely a way of storing energy in chemical form, it does have huge potential though. The difficulties lie in storing it, gaseouse hydrogen molecules are so minute they escape through steel so long term storage is difficult. Also it has a very very low boiling point similar to helium this introduces more cost. It is the development of these storage technologies which is slowing progress. Despite this Hydrogen fuel cells are only "green" if the energy used to produce the hydrogen from salty water comes from renewables, biochemists are working on ways to mimic how plants split water using the suns energy though which would be more efficient than first producing electricity then Hydrogen. Even then using hydrogen in planes would be disasterous for the planet, dumping that volume of water vapour in the atmosphere would cause a major greenhouse effect speeding up climate change even more. Kind of a no brainer this, Cut Flights Cut GHG's. JetG. rescue diver extraordinaire.

Heathrow does not need expanded. with the 2 runways it has just now a plane takes off and lands roughly every 40 seconds as it is. That is a lot of CO2. Also assuming every plane carries 200 people then in 1 hour 90 planes would take off. That is 18,000 people in 1 hour. Assuming with 1 runway the time doubles then that is 45 planes in 1 hour(9,000 people). With a 3rd runway that would be 1/3 wouldn't it? So therefore a plane could take off every 26.67 seconds. In other words 135 planes(rounded up) or 26,997 people(rounded up). But that is just with take off. If an equal number of planes land then just now about 9000 people take off in an hour and 9000 people land. With a 3rd runway 13,498 people would take off and 13,498 people would land. So in a day with a 3rd runway 640 planes would take off and land(or 128,000 people would go through Heathrow). That is just with a full 200 seater plane. You get much bigger planes. Tis a pretty big carbon footprint

You neglect to mention that there are much smaller aeroplanes and you also seem to have forgotten the freight aeroplanes that take off and land. You have shown that you can prove anything with numbers and statistics though.

yes that is true. But I think it is fair to say that most planes will be over 200 seats. As Heathrow is an international airport and they tend to use big planes when flying out width the country. I don't live in London so I don't see the airport. But I would imagine that the majority of the planes would be planes like a Boeing 747. Which has more than 200 seats.

You should check out a few of the airline websites, I suspect that you will be suprised about how many much smaller aircraft are used, Airbus A319, 130 seats and A320, 160 seats. BA make about 47 flights a day just to 5 destinations using these aircraft. What would be interesting to know is how many passengers are actually on the flights.

Already there are billions of pounds collected in Air Passenger Duty taxes and it will be doubled since November. It seems there are a lot of money collected from civil aviation industry towards the environment. Do we really need more green taxes, e.g. air fuel tax? The problem is how effective the funds are spent. Can anybody tell me what are the most effective ways to reduce CO2, e.g. offsetting CO2, stop flying, use biofuels, research into new technologies and in what percentages? Another point is I don't think joining EU Trading Scheme will be effective unless it is a worldwide. May be some money should go towards setting the worldwide Trading Scheme and make sure countries such as China and USA are the members?

You're right on the EU ETS - aviation's inclusion will do pretty much nothing to reduce the sector's emissions. Even in the toughest ETS scenario envisaged, by 2020 emissions would grow by 83% instead of 86% in a business-as-usual situation (pdf)- the industry will just be able to keep growing and keep polluting by trading permits with other industries. Voluntary offsetting isn't much use either (actually, there's a risk that the fashion for offsetting could actually encourage people to take unnecessary journeys). Often, it's just an accounting trick; once you've put a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere there's not much that offsetting can do to stop it changing our climate. And using biofuels brings in all sorts of other problems. The most effective way to cap emissions from flying is to cap the number of flights: ie stop expanding airports; ban domestic flights served by good train routes; cap long-haul flights (to ensure they don't just replace short-haul flights if the slots become free); and transferring the billions earmarked for aviation expansion to be ploughed into our railways. Cheers, Bex gpuk

Thanx, Bex. I agree with you that government must encourage travelling by railway and instead of airport expansion put money into reliable and affordable railway links. But I still beleive that economics dictates what people will do, e.g. if air travel becomes too expensive people will stop travel and there will be no need for further expansions. Wouldn't it be a solution to increase green taxes on air travel to decrease number of flights?

Hi elena Yep, I agree that green taxation is an important tool in encouraging people to change their behaviour but, in terms of aviation, the carbon savings that might be achieved by adding a few pounds to flight costs would be wiped out in no time by a third runway at Heathrow. Also, we're very deliberately targeting government policy rather than individual behaviour - we need a clear policy to cap the unsustainable growth in aviation. And, as we're calling for a transfer of the billions of pounds subsidies into the railways, the end result will also be that the cost of aviation goes up and rail travel is improved, adding incentives for people to take the most sustainable choice. Cheers, Bex gpuk

I agree with all what has been said here. Isn't it odd to think that one piece of tar mack could cause so much damage... yet if we let it get built... It will. We don't want a tax that costs the aviation industry a few pounds. To win the war against airports we need to cripple the industry. Don't put green tax as a few pounds. Make it a couple hundred. Also bring back the Railway and the Canal. May be slower but it is greener.

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